9 Lessons I learned af­ter los­ing my Dad

The Star (St. Lucia) - - FATHER’S DAY - By Lau­ren Brown­ing

There are cer­tain times of year that are al­ways hard for me, and Fa­ther’s Day is one of them. I lost my fa­ther to pan­cre­atic can­cer when I was 20 years old. Loss is un­fair, un­for­giv­ing and, quite hon­estly, it sucks. I’ve learned it’s im­por­tant to turn that heart­break into some­thing pos­i­tive. Here are nine lessons I’ve learned since my fa­ther passed away. Al­though a cliché, I treat it like the law. My fam­ily’s life was flipped up­side down in a mo­ment, and none of us saw it com­ing. My strong healthy fa­ther passed away from pan­cre­atic can­cer three and a half years ago. His prog­no­sis was four months; he lived 16. His will to live ev­ery day and coura­geously fight for his life gave him and our fam­ily the beau­ti­ful gift of time. Don’t waste one sec­ond of it. If my dad had a catch­phrase it would be this. He lived with the men­tal­ity that “hap­pi­ness is a choice” and af­ter his death I found it hard to be happy. His words echo in my head ev­ery day, and ev­ery day when I wake up I choose to be happy to hon­our him. Yes, it’s okay to feel sad. Af­ter my dad’s di­ag­no­sis I didn’t know what to think, or do, or feel, so I turned to a friend who had re­cently lost his brother. He told me not to hold it in. Don’t be afraid to feel. A smile goes a long way Some days were tougher than we could have imag­ined. When­ever some­one in my fam­ily sensed we were sink­ing, we all would count out loud “1, 2, 3,” and then smile as big as we could. It al­ways ended with us laugh­ing through the hard­est times. Think about your loved ones ev­ery day I think about my dad ev­ery day. I want to call him on my way home from work to tell him about the new po­si­tion I got, how I need his golf ex­per­tise when I keep shank­ing my drives to the right, that I want to in­tro­duce him to my friends and boyfriend. Know­ing he won’t see my sis­ter and brother-in-law wel­come their daugh­ter into the world or see me get mar­ried is a tough pill to swal­low. How­ever, I find peace in the fact that I have 20 years of un­for­get­table mem­o­ries. Hold on to the mem­o­ries

Ever since I was small, every­one said I looked like my dad. And al­though I didn’t like hear­ing that back then be­cause I thought it meant I looked like a boy, now I love that I have his eyes, smile and even his crooked nose. He lives through my sis­ter’s man­ner­isms, my brother’s hu­mour, my killer dance moves and my mom’s un­con­di­tional love. Par­ents are also peo­ple and they can be vul­ner­a­ble My par­ents have al­ways been my rocks, my un­wa­ver­ing pil­lars. When my dad got sick my par­ents ex­hib­ited su­per­hu­man strength and brav­ery but I also saw a new vul­ner­a­ble side to them that showed me that they are peo­ple too. I be­came even more ap­pre­cia­tive of all the things my dad had done for our fam­ily. From work­ing crazy hours to danc­ing his heart out to win the “Best Danc­ing Dad” award at the fa­ther-daugh­ter dance, he truly was the best. The peo­ple who put their lives aside for yours, your needs be­fore theirs, will one day need you to be the per­son there for them. Be good to your friends My dad preached the im­por­tance of be­ing good to your friends be­cause he knew one day that you will need them more than you ever re­al­ized. To all the amaz­ing friends who kept my fam­ily fed, gave us rides, sat with us, ran er­rands, cre­ated a char­ity in my dad’s hon­our, I’m eter­nally grate­ful. You can’t pos­si­bly say “I love you” too much If you love some­one, let them know. All. The. Time. When my fa­ther died I was heart­bro­ken but be­cause of him I know that no mat­ter how much your heart breaks, it’s im­por­tant to con­tinue to love. Love you to the moon and back, Dad; happy Fa­ther’s Day.

--- Busi­ness In­sider

Fa­thers are meant to be ap­pre­ci­ated while they’re still here.

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